Modern windscreens have a twofold function: to ensure good visibility and to contribute to the vehicle’s overall strength and safety. From both points of view, it is essential to keep it in good condition. Here’s how:
Clean it. Light reflecting off a dirty windscreen can blind you and impair your driving. Use non-abrasive cleaning products and a soft lint-free cloth to wipe the glass in circular motion until all signs of dirt and streaks are gone. Remember to clean the inside section too.
Defog it. Defogging the windscreen is all about decreasing the humidity and regulating the temperature inside the vehicle. The defogging button will do the job quickly. If your car does not have this functionality, turn on the air-conditioner. Start it on cold and, if you need to, gradually increase the temperature. You’ll know when you’ve gone too far if the glass starts to mist again. Don’t put the fan on “re-circulate”, because this will not affect the humidity levels. Don’t wipe the windscreen with your hands either (unless absolutely necessary), because this will leave visibility-unfriendly streaks all over the place.
If all else fails, opening the windows will clear the condensation, though it will also expose you to the elements.
Keep it crack-free. This is easier said than done, but there are some precautions you can take to lower the risks: you can keep a respectful following distance from a big truck in front of you, because you know that those huge tires can throw a pebble onto your windscreen; you can negotiate potholes with great care, because your own tires could send the debris onto your windscreen; and you can avoid slamming the car doors, because this produces vibrations that can loosen the windscreen and lead to a crack.
If cracks or chips still happen, they need to be fixed as soon as possible. Some cracks can be repaired. However, the whole windscreen must be replaced if the crack is in the driver’s line of vision, if it goes right to the edge, or if it is too big.
Give it good wipers. The windscreen wipers that are in good condition are soft and flexible. If they jolt, make a noise or leave streaks, replace them. Although they can last up to two years, it is good practice to get new ones every year. It is also important to clean the wiper blades regularly, because the dirt and the sand particles caught between them and the glass can scratch your windscreen.
To make your wipers more effective in a heavy downpour, spray the windscreen with a rain dispersant.
Don’t let it get parched. Make it a habit to check your washer water levels and to ensure that the spray nozzles are properly aimed and unclogged.
The good care of it and your windscreen will give you good visibility, helping you arrive safely at your destination. Also remember that all the other windows on your car are important too, especially the back one, so don’t neglect them either.